Multi-generational households

In the US, for the first time maybe since the Great Depression of the 1930s — and maybe for the first time every — a majority of young adults (age 18-29) are living with a parent. It’s not clear that this is what people really want to do. Such moves are more out of necessity.

Pew research points to two issues explaining the rapid growth of young adults living at home:

  • Closure of college campuses
  • Job loss or salary cuts that make it impossible to maintain a separate abode

There’s another trend working from the other direction to increase the incidence of multi-generational homes — avoidance of nursing homes.

In the Covid-19 pandemic, nursing homes have become incubators and places of isolation and death. One Veterans’ home in Menlo Park, NJ, lost more than 100 patients to the coronavirus. Further, loved ones are prevented from visiting patients. Knowing that, older parents may prefer to live with their children.

If we couple these trends with a sharp decline in immigration to the US, we should see — soon — a sharp correction in housing prices. San Francisco is already experiencing that, with other cities and states to follow. We will also see a sharp growth in foreclosures, as houses become worth less than the mortgage loans financing them. And that puts us back into a 2009 scenario. Deja vue.

The latest numbers in this chart are for 2018. Having worked on the Census in New Jersey, I believe we are in for a shock when the data are reported. Further, the Federal government doesn’t report people leaving the US to take up residence elsewhere. My (rough) estimate is that 5% of US citizens now have permanent residences outside the US, and that number is growing. We also have foreign nationals from Europe and Asia who are leaving the US.

Happy Halloween!



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